Plenty more fish in sea for Australia’s bluefin tuna industry?

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd August 2011

Australia’s bluefin tuna industry chiefs are eager to see a higher catch quota permitted for southern blue fin tuna for the 2012 and 2013 fishing seasons.

The quota is to be decided on by the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) which met today in Sydney, Australia, to discuss future quotas. The commission is made up of delegates from Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Taiwan.

Southern bluefin tuna fish are found throughout the southern hemisphere mainly in waters between 30 and 50 degrees south but only rarely in the eastern Pacific. The only known breeding area is in the Indian Ocean, south-east of Java, Indonesia.

Australia exports 10,000 metric tons of bluefin worth A$200 million; almost all is from penned stocks. The primary market is the Japan, where more than 80 percent of the global bluefin tuna catch is consumed.

In 2009, Australia’s bluefin tuna industry was dealt a blow when the Australian Government reduced the quota for fishing of the southern bluefin tuna by 23.7% for the 2010 and 2011 fishing seasons. The Australian tuna industry is hoping stocks will have replenished enough for the quota to be increased for the coming fishing seasons.

The CCSBT will make a final decision on southern bluefin tuna quotas at its annual meeting in October 2011 in Bali, Indonesia.